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tv   [untitled]    May 13, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm EDT

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television. television smoking but that was a sign of being hip, of sexiness. get on a sailboat, you'll have girls all over you. that's the image. television pushed that. sometimes, of course, left out, a lot of the bad side. that's how you get notices like university studies have shown. you notice on advertisers there is always some professor or dignified or former actor tells you this. that's-who you're trusting. i told you already in this class advertisers are the most brilliant people in the world. it's not about deception. they know what people want or they know how to create a market for what you didn't even know you wanted. and television is a very powerful medium. radio provokes the imagination. you got to imagine things. television satisfies it. you sit there passively and watch it and you're bombarded.
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there is no doubt that in the super bowl, most of us can't even tell you who's playing in the games. or who won. what are you watching? great commercials. are you affected by that? not you. you're too sophisticated by that. not affected by these beer -- come on. apple computer, come on. doesn't matter to me. then you go out and buy them. football itself, really adjusted. talking football, too. poor joe paterno. i find that remarkable. let me digress, maybe that's a product of television, too. we know television created college sports, this huge market for college sports whether that's corrupt or not. found it interesting all of the hundreds of students outside joe paterno's house. when i get fired i want you outside my house. but it tells you something about
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the culture. critics will say that too. it's stimulated the sports culture. but think of how skewed that is. who cares about -- he's a football coach. penn state, a football team. who cares? really. but we do. mention pro football. 1960, not only has pro football put 13 cameras around the field while baseball only has one or two. baseball doesn't want to have tv contracts. football has. but football invents something called the two-minute warning. what's the two-minute warning? somebody. what's a two-minute warning. the end of each half, two minutes, because the players get very tired, right? they are really tired. why? absolutely created for more commercial space. television insisted on this. let's do this. you know.
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the last two minutes is exciting so we know the viewers will come back, we'll add in commercials. you look at that. anybody been to a football game, broncos, wherever, where the players are standing around the field. whistle blows, referee, they get ready, then television comes back. it's dictated by television. critics don't necessarily like it. mickey mouse club, kids at an early age learn television. here is the viewing hours. only your right the rise versus television. the yellow bar by 1960 is the number of televisions proportionally to radios. it takes off. on your left, look at that. 1950, 4 1/2 hours of viewing a day. seems like a lot. but look at 1994. eight hours. almost doubles. how many of you watch that much television? you do. you do. how many of you have a lap top. computer? how many of you get on the internet. what do you think you're doing. i know you're focused on your history papers.
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i know that's all you do. my guess you're surfing, listening to music or watching sports or whatever it is, you're shopping. hour upon hour of doing that. and now you can do it portably, right. you can check everything here, buy those tickets, that's what it is. that's the modern version of television watching. then you also watch television. not a bad thing. you are part of the american dream. and television shaped that. television shaped much of that. it's an advertiser's dream, too. they are making a killing here. on selling television networks. critics say what have you got here? this is vacuous. remember h.r. mankin, the 50s on ward. it's a wasteland. look at the shows. situation comedies or sit comes, the honeymooners, jackie gleason, father knows best, what is this about family life. people were fascinated.
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family life. we still are. look at our shows today. how many of you like the medical hospital shows? you know why? how much medicine do you learn in those? it new do a operation but who is sleeping with who. they are silly. ridiculous. they are great. they are so entertaining. critics say this is a waste land. americans aren't concerned about politics, there are serious issues in the country. in the 50s, today. politics, race relations, the economy, whatever it is. but americans click on their tv or pull down their tv and soon have a remote. you don't have to get off the couch. hell, some people have it you don't have to get out of the car. you can get out of the car and have everything going. i have a neighbor who has three tvs in his kitchen. and then one over his fireplace because god forbid you would want a picture over the fireplace.
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no, he has the tv but all in his kitchen so he can watch, eat breakfast and do that. wonderful. but critics say this leads to real cultural problems. theater audience. going to plays. that audience plummeted in the late 40s and early 50s as more people got televisions. was that a good thing, bad thing. critics say the real culture was on broadway, it wasn't here. on situation comedy. and now americans are sort of dumbed down. the praisers by the way will say really, how much is a broadway ticket? i was on broadway, i went to a show in september. how did you pay? anybody go? couple of hundred bucks for a good ticket. praisers say that's elitism. television, everybody can watch it. it's relatively inexpensive. and americans are spending. they are spending. this is frank mcnamara who was a rich new yorker, lived in manhattan, and out with thinks
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friends realized that when we pay a bill in a restaurant, it sort of uncouth. we pull our money out, look around for dollar bills, fumble with change. isn't there some way our restaurant can give us credit and we can pay that off? and then he had a bigger idea. why don't we get a network of these restaurants to join in, in a card, in a diner's club card. a diner's club. where if you qualify, you could get that card and pay it off every month. and that is the beginning, as the rest as we say in this class, is history. as credit cards proliferate. mastercard, visa, american express. take off. which say critics a down side. americans are more and more in debt because it's easy to pay with the credit card, isn't it. it's easy to pay and put it off. and you can see the indebtedness by the end of the decade. it sky rockets. how many of you have credit
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cards. isn't that amazing. why? why? one of you brave enough to tell me why you have a credit card? to rent cars. okay. because it's easy. to spend. it's safe. you never know when you're going to find yourself in downtown boulder and needing a latte and you don't have cash. or stranded by the side of the road more seriously. really think about it. it's a luxury. it's a luxury for most people. it really is. heck, we have debit cards. we hardly know what cash looks like. you hardly need to carry cash. and you don't think the credit card companies are loving this. that you've got a credit card. how many of you pay fees on your credit cards. what a business. and we've just come through a period where credit cards are
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under the gun for high fees or hidden fees but they know a good thing. you go in a store and use a credit card, that store is paying 2, 3% on every purchase back to the credit card company. what a business. and get you to spend more. my brother about 20, 25 years ago in new york city had somebody who had a roommate. she stole his credit card and ran up this $10,000 bill. my brother started getting flooded to up his limit, new cardings. he said i'm a credit risk. no, you're really spending so spend more. spend more. and more and more. we're in this funny era now where banks are not giving as many loans. that will ease up. they want your credit. want you to spend.
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that's key to the american market. critics say that economically unsound and there is an ethical problem of people, especially young people, at an early age or younger being thought it's okay, give them the credit card. parents will pay or i'll pay it off later. something wrong with that. say the critics what you got here in total is a real, as i said, cultural wasteland. americans are sort of barbaric. they're not civilized. this isn't the height of civilization. we would have a president, president bush, who would go to war in iraq and he had a grand vision for the middle east. might be coming true. what we want to do is spread democracy in the middle east but what we want is to spread prosperity and make everybody in
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the middle east was middle class and sat on the couch and watch tv then it would all be fine. there would be no tension and war. maybe, maybe not. make them like america. in the 50s they could be like in the 50s, where the kids watch 4 1/2 hours of television and mom watched her sit comes or soap operas in the middle of the day and dad came home on weekends. he'd lay on the couch and watch four to five hours of sports on saturday and sunday. great. that's great. that's what it's all about. but the critics say no. actually, if you look at statistics and interview people from the 50s, 60s, they say it was stressful. either keeping up with the joneses or this service work, we commute out, a lot of work. stressful. we know that the martini, of course, came of age really in large part in the 50s. people had one or two martinis. my mom spent most of her pregnancies with martinis. you could do that then. but the high ball, the after dinner drink or the before dinner drink, people were drinking. tranquilizer use was on the rise. if this was such a pleasant time why are people taking more drugs
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or drinking more? why? they like this woman looking saying i got to have all this stuff, i got to keep up. is it more stressful time. they found that it really was more stressful. and what about the family itself? here was an era, and it continued from earlier eras but now with the automobile and the interstate, plane travel is more common, you could spread out across the country. all that was left of families it was no longer the grandma and grandpa living up stairs or across the street. in the city orin a suburb. now people left. i grew up in atlanta, georgia. my parents are there. a sister in lake wood, a brother in seattle. and another sister in boston. i live in denver. we're spread out. come home, we meet each other on some holidays, thanks giving, that's about it. no wonder women went in the home because somebody had to take care of the kids.
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in fact, historians made a case that women went in the home when they were highly educated and ready to go in the work force and some did. most stayed home because they were sort of compelled to by social pressure. in fact, historians made a case that like we contained the soviet union, we contained women in the home in the 50s. tell them to stay home. live in their ranch style houses with big awnings. you see these 50 style houses, tree also around them. it almost looked like a bunker in there and have them making lunch and going to pta meetings and tupperware parties all in the community. take another generation, another decade of a feminist movement that would get women out and get many of you women into college now as a majority of the gender in college today. that wouldn't be the case in the 50s. that nuclear family was the family unit. the mother, father and the kids.
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that was it. you couldn't count on the rest of the relatives because you moved away, by and large. what kind of family values was that, say critics. what kind of family values did you have in america. not much. and we look at the 50s as a different time when we seem to have a lot of family values. a moral disaster? television had made very popular game shows. how many of you watch game shows? what's big now. we had a few years ago, who wants to be millionaire, they are great. a lot of fun. they are completely ridiculously stupid as we know. even jeopardy. but we love them. entertaining. back then, 21 was one of the game shows that was very, very popular. the game so 21. and there what would happen, the contestant like charles van doran here, an assistant professor at columbia university, would go in a sound proof booth and answer
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questions. what is the average rainfall in british guinea. darn it. 36 1/2 inches. yes! you're right. he'd move on and advance on. the next week, what is the average number of chickens on an arkansas chicken farm? god, i knew georgia. 385. you're right. answers were brought from a bank vault by a security guard, would hand it to the moderator, would ask these questions. the audience would see them but van doran would answer week after week. he became the star, this young, good looking assistant professor. millions tuned in to 21 until it turned out that one of the contestants he had beaten spilled the beans. he was given the answers beforehand.
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in fact, we're all given the answers. in fact, we are even coached on how to fidget and go like this. make it look like you're really thinking. there's acting coaches. americans couldn't believe it. congress began an investigation into the quiz shows. became the quiz show scandals. turned out a lot of these were all cheating. were rigging things. they found out that audiences liked certain contestants as we do today so they kept on going with that. the audience numbers would rise. advertisers would spend more money because everybody liked charles van doran. we like this guy. went on and on. investigations where columbia university students said this. talking about corruption. you're talking about morality. that's all relative. who is to say, everybody does this. who is to say what is more moral than something else and -- it's
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all relevant, who cares s. that what america becomes. you couldn't tell what was right or wrong, only what sold. is that what it was all about? the quiz shows would sweep the nation and then be gone. and sex. such a moral country. in a country that prided itself on family values. alfred kinsey was a zoologist, a biologist. who did some research. research on animal sexuality. he came out with two reports. one on male sexual behavior in 1948 and one on female sexual behavior five years later. he found in his studies that fully 90% of men had visited a prostitute. that a third of them were having extramarital affairs. that 1 in 6 farm boys, 1 out of 6, had sex with a farm animal.
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you know, until you try it. and some sheep were very cute. i told you, we're in big trouble. for women, for women, fully half of women got married and they weren't virgins. one in seven had a homosexual experience. by the way, one in three men had a homosexual experience. and on and on. this was such a moral place. people were cheating in their marriages. talked about morality. marilyn monroe was a sex symbol. play boy magazine out of the 1950s to make women into objects. objectifying them. and now of course we have this pornography industry that is multi-billion-dollars. what's that all about. what were -- we're decadent. this is the 50s as critics say.
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you're holding up as the epitome of a nice time to be an american. no. it's depraved in many ways. oh, say the praisers come off it. come off it. our praisers of course who look at american history as progress, and that there are problems always and corrections to be made but basically things get better and better say the 50s was one of the best. sure, you didn't have a lot of experimentation, a lot of creative ideas, maybe, but you had a contented group and rising group of middle class white americans. into the millions. who at few other times in our history were more happy, satisfied. with how they were doing. and their lives. comfort and community. don't tell us there's no community in the suburbs. little league, and schools, and shopping centers. everything around, everybody was part of that community.
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and you could make new friends out of your, if you were just in your nuclear family. and it was comfortable. the united states, americans had gone through not only decades of fighting with each other, labor and businesses we talked about, but had come through the great depression, had come through the world war. it was about time that americans had peace and comfort. what's wrong with that? being the same. what's wrong with that? being the same? so? it's comfortable. you don't have to be so creative. some of the most creative periods in the '30s, '40s or '60s were more destructive than other eras and leading to war sometimes.
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or domestic tensions. better to sit back and be calm and have everything the same. democratic? sure. you could live across the street from a banker and you worked in a factory or low-level entry insurance. it was all the same. this was democracy. this was mass democracy for americans. nothing wrong with that. look around where you live now. by and large people move in and out. some are more elite suburbs and others are not. but people can afford to live there. that's your sense of status. there's nothing wrong with having economic status as your goal. that's fine. we don't have kings and queens we don't have aristocracy in this country. we have economic equality and striving for that. and that is epitomized. there's a culmination from the '50s to the 60s. nuclear family? there were more women working in the home.
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you can see it's flat in the '50s and '60s. it starts taking off. that changes. women are working. what's wrong with them staying at home anyway? so what? it's comfortable. and somebody has to take care of the kids anyway. it's fine. they instill family values. don't talk to us about immorality. this is one of the most religious times in our period, which has just taken off. televangelists are packing them in. look how many people are flocking to religion. it's amazing. the president of the united states inaugurated 1953 has a parade and dedicates a float to god. congress doesn't pass legislation to put under god in our pledge of allegiance. in god we trust is on the currency. look at it now. you might all have credit cards, but if you get hold of a dollar bill -- and again, under god. this country is religious. by the 1970s, they're on television broadcasting around
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the world. these are the most watched shows globally. some of them have come under the gun, kind of criticism. you are talking america is immoral, it's the most religious country in the world. they say yeah there's some depravity, there's sex out there, say praisers. but basically americans have their core values. family values, good and ethical. it's not elitist, either. i mentioned it in housing. television, it's not elitist at all. everybody watches it. here is lucille ball with the "i love lucy" show. 1956 president eisenhower was re-elected and had his inauguration on tv. give his speech again. lucy, the real lucille o ball. she was pregnant and decided she would go and have her baby as part of the show. right? so she would go to the hospital and you can imagine if you saw the show, all the chaos and she goes to the hospital. 44 million people watched that. half of that watched the president being inaugurated. so what say praisers?
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it's entertainment. that's what americans are like. they have the luxury to not have to always worry about politics all the time. this is fine. we know that television some advertisers and certainly television are getting worried and some cities definitely worried. the milton burl show. so many people would go to the bathroom at a commercial break that water pressure would fall in some cities. start warning people. could you hold it in or go before? this was a sensation television and available and accessible to everybody. it wasn't elitist at all. finally, talk about a conformist culture. james dean or marlon brando. marilyn monroe, a sex object,
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but she moves the boundaries of sexuality. this is an era of a lot of creativity culturally, a lot of things going on, a lot of change. it serves as a basis of the '60s, a revolutionary cultural change. still it's there in the '50s. sex appeal and rebels. rebels without a cause. even james dean would die in this era. the lead art. pushing the boundaries of art. it wasn't conformist at all. and a youth culture. look at elvis presley. he was able to bring african-american music to white people. when he showed up on the ed sullivan show, and over 80% of television viewers watched it in the late 1950s on that show. it was a sensation. ed sullivan refused to show him from the waist down. he wasn't going to show that wiggling lower body, too sexual. he showed up and it spurred more of a youth culture.
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for elvis and others. buddy holly, the comets, and others. and rock and roll was pivotal. this was the era that was born. it's guys like presley who bring in this african-american music that was referred to as rocking and rolling, which was also a term for sexual intercourse. it was also a term of sexual intercourse in white society, middle class society would not have that. allen freed was a producer who shortened up that to rock and roll. marketed it to teenage girls in the suburbs making it more acceptable with other bands. the critics at that point, the conservatives said this rock and roll is a disguise. it's for juvenile delinquents. elvis presley should be
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arrested. frank sinatra went crazy. what is this music? these people are screaming. you have seen the pictures of the early '60s of the beatles where kids are going crazy. girls go crazy. beside themselves. i had the same out of body experience with my daughter when taylor swift game in. you should see the look in this girl's eyes. i never experienced that. just crazy. it was amazing. the point being that rock and roll was a direct revolt, revolution against conformism. don't know much about history? teen angel, religion and sex combined. rock around the clock, irresponsibility. what else could you expect from the '50s that gave way to the 1960s. an era of happiness, an end to divisions in america. no more experimentation. no depression in war. america was represented by this. the critics, of course, will disagree. they'll see a lot of seeds of
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division planted. and the '60s would sort of turn around and you would have revolution in the streets. but in the '50s, praisers say, we solved problems of poverty, divisiveness. america seemed unified. that is why you ask your relatives. they remember fondly. they will remember the '50s and '60s as a great time to be american. right? questions? questions? we're done. thanks for listening. see you friday. lectures in history airs each saturday and sunday.
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we feature lectures from around the country on different topics and eras. to keep up with american history tv during the week or to send us questions and comments, follow us on twitter. we're at twitter.com/c-span history. behalf of a grateful nation and the political parties, american history tv will air c-span's original series "the contenders" featuring 14 key political figures who ran for president and lost. we'll air the series every weekend from june 3rd to september 2nd on sundays at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. eastern all here on "american history tv" on c-span 3. and join us on saturday june 2nd at 10:00 a.m. eastern.

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